Morning. Big day today. Not that every day at the Olympic Games isn’t big, just that this is possibly the biggest yet.
Yes Kent athletes have won a silver and bronze so far, which took Kent up to 27th place in the medal table (if we were a country), temporarily level with Norway and Indonesia and ahead of Spain and NZ.
However this morning sees the start of the track and field events at the Olympic Stadium, and for many, that is when the ‘real’ Olympics starts.
Jack Green will be the first Kent athlete to hit the track at these Games in his 400m hurdles heat at 11.50am today.
He’s only 20, but he has the brain of a 75-year-old super-genius that you could quite easily envisage going rogue and ending up as a baddie in X-Men.
He’s got it all mapped out, everything, his entire path to the top. What he needs to do, how he needs to do it, how to boost his profile, how to get people to notice. He is an experienced head in the very gifted body of a 20-year-old athlete. These will be his first Games, I have absolutely no doubt they will not be his last.
He is a reporter’s dream, if I’m honest. Just this week he told the press ‘I’m here to win a medal, I don’t want to be a supporting role, I want to be the star.’
Now that might come across as cocky, arrogant, whatever, to some people, but he’s got the skills to pay those whopping bills he’s running up. He is deservedly the seventh fastest man in the world in his event this year, and anything other than an appearance in the Olympic Final on Monday night would be a big surprise and even bigger disappointment.
I last saw you at Eton Dorney on Wednesday, right? Well that was quite a day too. It pretty much summed up the Olympics for me.
Tom Ransley and his GB men’s eight mates left absolutely everything out there on that water. They were easily the second best crew in that competition, and we all know that should mean silver, yeah?
No, they could so easily have rowed tactically and secured a silver, but I reckon these are the type of guys who see silver as the ‘first loser’s’ position.
They did absolutely everything they could to try and win gold, and they made us all believe they could do that, leading 2/3 of the way through, but eventually, when those classy Germans found their extra gear (having been scared witless by GB, I should add) GB had nothing more to give, and I firmly believe at that point that it didn’t matter whether it was silver or bronze or fourth.
Yes, it’s an Olympic medal, but it should really be a reminder of the courage and bravery they showed in trying to win it all, against the odds, and how close they came. It’s a fantastic example to set to Olympians of the future. Go for Gold. Sounds simple, but it’s really not.
After Eton I rushed back to Big Smoke to watch Ashley Jackson and GB take on South Africa at the Riverbank.
What a strange game that was. Jackson smashed GB ahead with a trademark penalty-corner bullet, but then for some strange reason the momentum shifted and you could sense an equaliser before it arrived and then you just ‘knew’ that SA would go ahead.
In the end they took the lead five minutes from time, but Jackson’s scruffy, multi-deflected goal salvaged a point at least for the hosts with two minutes to go.
To say he was disappointed after the game was an understatement. It’s great fun watching people succeed here at these Games, but to see things go wrong – which is part of sport, we all know – is never a comfortable experience.
Thursday was my unofficial day-off at these Games, so guess what I did? I went to the Olympic Games. J
It was the quietest day of the Games from a Kent perspective and a good chance to recharge my batteries before a hectic weekend of athletics, so I was given permission to stay in bed all day.
But it’s the Olympic Games. I went up on an early train with my family and friends and enjoyed the experience like a punter for the first and probably only time. I had such a good day.
You see I’m sort of isolated from the goings-on in the middle of the Park most of the time. I’m either stuck in a press lounge typing away, or on some crammed bus making my way from one venue to the next.
So just strolling through the throng of people enjoying the experience yesterday was really refreshing. The patriotism and pride of all the nations under the sun came together to hang in the air like an early morning mist.
Every few yards there was a group of colourfully-adorned foreigners draped in flags, hats, scarves, shirts, novelty glasses, anything and everything to show off where they were from and who they would be supporting,
And the best thing was each group would take pictures of each other... so the sight of some staunchly proud Lithuanians (I assume on their way to the basketball arena) stopping a squad of whooping Frenchmen to ask them to pose for a picture was just fantastic. Bringing people together, I TOLD you!
Maybe even better was the group of Cuban guys walking toward the Velodrome with flags fluttering behind them. The one in the middle had an especially big grin and a T-Shirt which read ‘My son is an Olympic Cyclist’ next to a big picture of some Adonis in a lycra suit and a space-age helmet.
It might be just because I have not been sleeping enough, or it might be because I am a big pansy, but I am finding the whole experience of the Games very emotional.
There are just so many emotions floating on the air like the smoke after a spectacular firework display, and they are all magnified by the Olympic stage.
This is not your usual brand of despair, you haven’t just missed your bus, the lifetime dream which you have religiously dedicated yourself towards for years has just been dashed. That cannot fail to make an impression on the people present to see it happen.
And by the same token the levels of pride and joy are also hugely inflated. Imagine how proud you were when your kid won the egg and spoon race at sports day.... now imagine how proud that Cuban dad feels today. I can’t get my head around it.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but this is a very special event. Just being in the Park allows you to soak it up.
So do what my brother is doing. He wasn’t particularly fussed about all this, but when he came up yesterday he caught the bug, and is now sitting at home, hitting refresh on the www.london2012.com ticket website, desperate to find another way to get back up here and get another fix of the Greatest Show on Earth.
Don’t leave it too late! I promise you'd regret it!